August Meeting - Saturday, August 1, 2020 at 1 pm via Zoom with Devon Graham and Linus Chen
The July social session was so much fun, we decided to do it again this time with some guest speakers. We will make some announcements. Devon Graham, President of Project Amazonas, will be joining us to share his perspectives on the short-, medium- and long-term effects we might anticipate on the hobby due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Linus Chen will give a short, informal presentation on "Shrimp-Compatible Fish." This will be in an open Zoom environment and very informal with plenty of opportunities for questions and unstructured socializing.
July Meeting Virtual Social Chat Session - Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 1 pm via Zoom
We will be having our July meeting as scheduled at the regular time. A number of members have expressed how much they miss catching up with their fellow club members, so we will be experimenting with a new format that allows us to talk to one another in an informal way. Our trusty Treasurer, Michael Barber, has set up a free club Zoom account and scheduled a meeting for 1 pm tomorrow afternoon. People entering the meeting will initially be muted. We will make some announcements for the first few minutes, and then Zoom will shuffle people into virtual chat rooms for 10 minutes at a clip. Each chat room holds five or six people who can then socialize among themselves. After 10 minutes, people will automatically rejoin the meeting, and then Zoom will place everyone in a different chat room. We believe Zoom just randomizes the mix, but we'll see. This is the first time we're trying this, so it will be a learning experience for everyone. Zoom provides free accounts with 40 minutes of chat room time. It's possible we can request more time to bring us closer to an hour. We will appreciate feedback after the event to figure out what does and doesn't work. Nothing can replace our Annual Bowl Show & Indoor Picnic, but hopefully we can feel connected to our fellow fishkeepers during these isolating times. Until tomorrow.
Given the ongoing restrictions on large social gatherings, we have cancelled the Green Acres reservations for July and August and will be conducting virtual events instead. A number of our speakers have expressed a prudent unwillingness to travel until a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine becomes available. We are investigating the possibility of conducting an online auction, tag sale, or marketplace with a centrally located, outdoor pickup location where we can maintain social distancing and keep everyone safe. We will continue to adjust our online events in response to club member feedback. If you have experience conducting online events and would like to help, please let me know. You can use the Members Chat function.
June Meeting Virtual Shop Tour of Londontowne Tropicals
This coming Saturday, June 6, we will conduct a livestreaming shop tour of Londontowne Tropicals in Edgewater, MD (adjacent to Annapolis). Owned by Dale Edwards, Londontowne Tropicals opened its doors in 2019 in an unabashed act of optimism and fish love. It is dedicated to freshwater fish, invertebrates, and plants. We will be using the new Zoom feature on the club's website to livestream the event pending some tests by Jacob Waters and me this week. Stay tuned for details.
April 4, 2020
I hope everyone is staying well during these trying times. Here are some updates on our 2020 Program given the COVID-19 outbreak and need for social distancing.
Stay at Home Order
The Commonwealth of Virginia has issued a Stay at Home order until June 10, 2020. As a result, we will not be having in-person meetings in May or June. But that doesn't mean we can't go virtual to get our monthly fish fix.
Virtual Shrimp Tank Demonstration and Live Stream Event on May 2
Jacob Waters will set up a PVAS YouTube channel this weekend. He will also shoot and post a video on how to set up successful Neocaradina and Caradina shrimp tanks. Members can watch the video at their leisure. Both tanks will be raffled off to club members in good standing. Winners will be announced on May 2 and can schedule pickup from Jacob's house in Dumfries VA or at the next in-person club meeting.
On May 2, Jacob will conduct a live stream shrimp conversation with Erik Lucas in California including Q&A. The live stream will be 1-2 hours long and cover topics such as shrimp care, grading, and breeding. If you are interested in keeping shrimp and have questions, this is a great opportunity to seek advice from one of the most highly respected shrimp experts in the world. Details will be provided next week.
Virtual June Meeting
We plan on conducting a virtual, live stream meeting in June incorporating lessons learned from May.
All-Aquarium Catfish Convention
October may seem a long way off, but we are already actively monitoring forward-looking statements from the World Health Organization, the CDC, and other public health organizations. There seems to be a growing consensus that even if we experience a lull in the pandemic during the summer months, we can expect an increase in cases likely beginning in September. Andrew Blumhagen, the CatCon Chairman, is developing contingency plans based on different scenarios and working with Michael and me on a course of action. The hotel contract presents a material financial risk, and we will be taking prudent action as necessary to protect the club.
The club is on sound financial footing. As always, Michael has been diligently safeguarding our assets. Our material fixed costs are insurance and the storage unit. We have plenty of funds to carry us through the pandemic and beyond. Members who registered and paid for the ShrimpFest workshop have been reimbursed, purchased equipment has been returned, and the contract cancelled. Many of Michael's activities aren't visible to club members, but I can assure you they are significant. We are very fortunate to have someone as dedicated as Michael serving as our Treasurer.
Reports are coming in from far and wide that fish are loving the stay at home orders. They report more frequent feedings and water changes and a general increase in the solicitousness of their fishkeepers. Some even report greater visibility due to inside glass cleanings.